April 23/Cincinnati -- The cider makers at the Angry Orchard Cider Company have been hard at work on a new project – The Cider House Collection – and have just put the finishing touches on a new batch of specialty ciders that they're releasing nationally this week. Angry Orchard Iceman, inspired by traditional Quebec ice ciders, and Angry Orchard Strawman, a farmhouse cider, are the result of experimentation with apple varieties, wood-aging techniques and fermentation methods. Both styles will be hitting shelves across the country soon.
"With Angry Orchard Iceman and Strawman, we put our own spin on ancient cider styles, using cider making techniques that we've developed over the past 15 years. To come up with these recipes, we've been tinkering with apple blends and fermentation methods," said David Sipes, cider maker for Angry Orchard. "Over the past year, there's been a renewed interest in hard cider in the U.S. and drinkers are exploring ciders like never before. With the Cider House Collection, our drinkers can experience our interpretation of these largely unknown cider styles."
Both complex, wood-aged ciders, Strawman and Iceman, are made with heirloom apples from Italy, where the terroir significantly influences the flavor of apple varietals, and France, where apples unique to cider making have been cultivated for centuries. The ciders each have unique effervescent qualities and are served in individual, 750ml corked bottles. With higher alcohol content, warm flavors and more body, both ciders complement a variety of foods and are perfect for special drinking occasions or for sharing with a friend over dinner.
"Angry Orchard Strawman was influenced by centuries-old European farmhouse cider making techniques. Our team sought the perfect blend of apples and a unique fermentation and aging process to create our own version of a farmhouse cider with an earthy, yet subtly sweet flavor profile," said Sipes. "For Angry Orchard Iceman, we took cues from the traditional ice ciders of Quebec, creating a cider that is both delicate and sweet."
• Angry Orchard Strawman's (10.0% ABV) ripe apple, vanilla and honeysuckle flavors impart an earthy character complemented by a distinct aroma of ripe apples, wood, dark fruits and sweet citrus. Strawman's earthy characteristics help cut through the fats and proteins of farmhouse cheeses like cheddar, and also pair well with seafood dishes, like salmon or tuna, with its dark fruit, wood and citrus notes. Strawman is aged on wood with toasted qualities to add to the traditional earthy farmhouse flavors of the cider and with notes of vanilla to help balance this cider's funky characteristics. Its complex, earthy, slightly herbal taste is akin to that of a dry, southern hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling.
• Angry Orchard Iceman (10.0% ABV) features flavors of crisp apples with notes of caramel and toffee for a cider that's sweet, but not cloying, and slightly effervescent to enhance aroma. The wood aging process imparts notes of vanilla for a smooth finish. Iceman is made by freezing apple juice prior to fermentation, resulting in concentrated sugars and deeper, richer flavors. This well-balanced cider pairs perfectly with delicate flavors like those found in foie gras and cured meats, while its smooth vanilla character compliments creamy, sweet French cheeses like Mimolette or a double cream Camembert. Iceman's warm taste, with vanilla and honey characteristics, is similar to a Sauternes or Muscat wine.
"The Cider House Collection ciders showcase complex, wine-like flavors and can be enjoyed alone or with food," Sipes explains. "These ciders have distinct aromas and flavors, so serving them in a glass shaped like a goblet or bowl, similar to wine, allows drinkers to have the full sensory experience. Similar to a white wine, these ciders should be served cool, but not cold, around a temperature range of 45-52 degrees F."
Strawman and Iceman will be available nationwide for the first time, following a successful limited release in 2012 in parts of New England, California, Minnesota and Washington.